First, as a disciple of Jesus Christ you have authority over sin. Let’s illustrate that by turning to John Chapter 8, beginning in verse 31:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free?”‘ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
So first of all, number one, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have authority over sin. Thanks be to God Who has delivered us from sin through Jesus Christ. We have authority over the penalty of sin, and we have authority over the power of sin. That means, according to Paul in Romans, that sin does not have to have dominion over us, as opposed to before when we had no choice, we had no say so, but we were bound by sin. And now, through the death of Jesus Christ, we’ve been delivered from the power of sin, and we’ve been delivered from the penalty of sin. So now we have authority over sin. So praise God for that! That is the first thing you have authority over as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Whoever the Son makes free, they are free indeed!
And you might say, “Well, I don’t feel like it, it doesn’t look like it, blah blah blah.” One thing you need to learn about authority is: authority is yours whether you see it, whether you feel it, whether you act upon it or not. You still have authority over sin. We’ll talk about how to increase that authority, and that’s the difference. The increase of authority over sin (and over anything else that we’ll discuss) is increased as you act upon that authority. We’ll discuss that as we go forward, but right now, just accept it on faith based on what Jesus is saying. He or she, whoever the Son sets free, is free indeed. So you have authority over sin. You’re no longer a slave to sin, instead, Paul says you are a slave to righteousness. Now the first step is recognizing that so you can start living according to who you really are, not the way you’ve been living up to the point where you gave your life to the Lord. So authority over sin – that’s what you have already, number one.
Number two, you have, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, authority over satan. You do have authority over the devil. I’ve already read this, but to reinforce the point once more – and there are many scriptures that we could provide to support this, but one of the clearest examples is Colossians Chapter 1 – so if you’ll turn to Colossians Chapter 1, I’d like to begin with verse 12:
“Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us…” (Now that is past tense. He has – not going to deliver us.)
“…He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love.” The Greek word “power” there again, being “exousia”, more properly translated “authority”.
Once you have received an inheritance of the saints in the light, and you’ve been transferred out of darkness and into the Kingdom of His dear Son, you’ve been delivered from the authority and the power of darkness. Your eyes have been opened, and satan no longer has authority in your life. And so, you’ve got authority over the devil, you have authority over satan, and that is not something you have to work towards in an effort to try and get that. Instead, that authority is yours in the Name of Jesus. Now, listen! You don’t have to claim it; it just is. Whether you claim it or not, whether you believe it or not, you have authority over sin, you have authority over satan.
Now obviously some people have more than others – only because some people recognize that authority and they live accordingly. If you have authority over the devil, but you keep giving him permission to operate in your life, then guess what? He’s going to beat you up. If you have authority over sin, but you continue to willfully sin, and you don’t deal with those areas, and you don’t allow yourself to be crucified and dealt with in those areas, then you’re going to continue to sin – even though you have authority over sin, you have authority over satan; nevertheless, that authority has to be recognized, and then it has to be exercised.
Now regardless of what you believe, or what you think, or what you feel, or what you see, this is what the Scripture says. So that’s the second thing. You have authority over sin, you have authority over satan – as a believer, as a saint, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, you have authority over the world. And that is found in I John Chapter 5, if you would turn there please. Beginning in verse 4, it says this:
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Praise the Lord. Now, it doesn’t say you have to be mature. It doesn’t say you have to be spiritually adult. It just says you have to be born of God and believe that Jesus is the Son of God; and once you are born-again, God at that moment gives you authority over the world.
Different people could translate that to mean different things. I take it as: authority over the world system, authority over the ways of the world. It means the world no longer has to have that pull and that draw upon you, because your citizenship now is in heaven, and you can be an ambassador for Christ and a king and priest in His Kingdom and represent that to the world around you. That’s how you overcome the world. John says don’t love the world, or the things of the world, because the world and the things therein are passing away, but he who does the will of God will abide forever. And this is he who overcomes the world: those who are born again. Those who have believed on the Name of Jesus. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. So praise God.
Now, in the world you’ll have tribulation, so authority over the world doesn’t mean that my circumstances will always be just the way I want them; I’ll never have any problems, and I’ll never have any challenges. What it means is: in the midst of all of that coming against me in the world, I can still be victorious in Christ.
And so, you already have, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, authority over sin, number one; authority over satan, number two; and number three: authority over the world.
Now, since all disciples have this authority, why doesn’t every disciple overcome? You might be asking yourself that question. You might say, “That sounds good, I believe what the Bible says, but I certainly don’t see that happening in my life, and I don’t see that as being the standard for Christian’s lives as a general way of life. I don’t see this happening. So if all disciples have this authority, why don’t more disciples overcome?”
Well, I think the clue you’re going to find out is right back where we left off in John 8. You remember Jesus says, “If… if… if.” See, that’s a condition. “If you continue, if you continue, if you continue in My Word.” What happens if you don’t continue? Well, “if you don’t continue in My Word, then you’re not really My disciples, and therefore the Truth cannot make you free.”
Truth makes us free in a progressive sense. In other words, we have authority over sin, but many times we’re still bound by sin. We have authority over satan, but a lot of times we allow satan to intimidate us, or to exercise power over us, as a result of our own ignorance, our own laziness. See, God says “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” It is not because satan is all-powerful. It’s not because he’s even very powerful. It’s not because he has authority, in fact the exact opposite is the case when you’re born again, you become a child of God, you have authority over satan!
So how is it that the devil is able to accomplish so much? It’s because “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” It’s a lack of understanding, and actually a lack of wisdom, because we don’t continue in the Word, we don’t give the Word time enough to transform us and conform us. We don’t continue, we don’t abide in His Word. And so Jesus says (in effect) “if you don’t abide in My Word then you’re not my disciples indeed, you will not know the truth, and the truth will not make you free.”
It’s all contingent on abiding in My Word. “Abide in Me, I will abide in you, you will produce much fruit, and your fruit will remain,” it says in John 15. But, “if you do not abide in Me, if you do not continue in Me, if you do not continue and abide in My Word and in My teachings, then you will not experience fruitfulness, and you will not experience the liberty and the freedom that is there, that is available to you – but you’ve got to continue in My Word.”
Don’t be condemned, but just let me speak the truth to you. If you’re lacking in an area, it’s not because sin is so powerful. It’s not because the devil is so powerful. It’s not because the world is so powerful. It’s only because you have failed to appreciate and recognize and walk in the authority that God has given you. That’s it! You just haven’t grown up to the point that you can walk in the assurance and the knowledge and the authority and the maturity that God has already provided for you.
So don’t blame God, don’t blame sin, don’t blame satan, don’t blame the world – and don’t blame yourself. Just go ahead and say, “OK. I recognize now that I have failed to grow up in these areas.” And ask the Lord to help you to grow, and as you do, your awareness of the truth will begin to transform you.